Gas station without pumps

2012 June 14

Ways in to University of California

Filed under: home school — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 16:38
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In a previous post, I talked about how to use various tests to satisfy the University of California a–g entrance requirements.  We are still planning to follow the outline described there, but it turns out that there are some other workarounds that are suitable for home-schoolers:

Mixing high school and community college classes

The University of California – a-g Guide describes how community college classes are counted for students being admitted as freshmen. There does not appear to be an upper limit for the number of units a high-school student can earn at community college (despite what our consultant teacher told us): “Even if high school seniors have a large number of units from community college coursework, they would still apply as freshmen, not transfers.”  Of course, other colleges probably have other policies.

UC-transferable courses count as “honors” classes (with a 1 point grade bonus in GPA calculations). According to the Assist website, both the Spanish classes my son took this year were UC-transferable, so count as honors.  Each counts as a 1-year high school class. If he decides to take (and can get into) a Theater Arts class at the community college, most of those would get bonus points also. Of course, since many of his classes don’t get grades, it isn’t clear that we’ll be able to honestly report a GPA anyway, so the bonus points may not matter.

Admission by exam

University of California – Admission by exam describes a different way of getting into UC.  This is not using exams to replace individual a–g course requirements (that’s at Options for Satisfying UC’s “A-G” Subject Requirements for Freshman Applicants Applying for 2012–13), but using just exams to establish eligibility. “If you don’t meet UC’s minimum requirements, you may be considered for admission to UC if you earn high scores on the ACT Plus Writing or SAT Reasoning Test and two SAT Subject Tests.”

This method is probably the easiest way for my son to establish eligibility.  Currently he has only one SAT Subject test, but he’ll almost certainly be taking another this year.  With his 6th-grade SAT (which had a rather low writing score) and his one Subject test, his “UC score” is already at 335.  He just needs to improve his writing subscore on the SAT slightly when he retakes it this coming year and get a 650 or better on another SAT Subject test to qualify for admission by exam.

There is one limitation: “You may not use an SAT Subject Test to meet these requirements if you have completed a transferable college course in that subject with a grade of C or better.” So taking a SAT Subject test in Spanish would not help with admission by exam, but physics would.  (Of course a SAT Subject test in Spanish might help with admission through the normal mechanism, or with admission to other universities.)

Admission by Exception

One method touted for home-schoolers is Admission by Exception, where students write why they should be allowed into UC in their personal statement in their application, and then contact the admissions offices directly.  Few students get in by exception (and it seems that many of them are recruited by the big football teams), and I would not recommend going this route unless there is literally no other way to get in.  We are not considering it.


  1. It was pointed out to me that the UC policy about community college credits applies only to those earned before high school graduation and in the immediately following summer. Later credits require students to apply as transfer students.

    It was also pointed out that UC Berkeley has an explicit limit on the number of units students may take if they take longer than 4 years to finish: 130 units, which is about the normal 4 year load (even a little low for engineering majors).

    Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2012 June 15 @ 06:24 | Reply

  2. […] of the rules for the a–g requirements, even though he exceeds them in spirit, there are other ways into UC: admission by exception and admission by […]

    Pingback by Admission by exam at UC | Gas station without pumps — 2013 March 29 @ 08:51 | Reply

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